Campus Life

Stockton discusses body positivity in Plus Size Panel

Written for The Argo by Erin Nevin

On Monday, April 10, in the Campus Center Theater, Stockton Entertainment Team and La Mesa collaborated to host “THIQUE: A Plus Size Panel Discussion.” Inspired by Rhianna’s Fenty fashion line, physical therapy student Kiaara Fulton created and facilitated the discussion where senior economics major Shahyan Abraham, and education major NaFisah Collins, answered questions about body positivity and inclusivity.

During the discussion, panelists were asked questions regarding their personal experiences as plus-size women as well as their opinions on society’s beauty standards and the stigma surrounding different body types. In response to how panelists felt about the word “fat,” Abraham stated, “I’m not offended by it anymore because I feel like I’ve taken the word back in a sense.” Fulton shared similar sentiments, saying, “When you say that, you’re not telling me anything I don’t already know.”

Complications surrounding relationships as a plus-size person were also discussed. Abraham, Collins, and Fulton spoke on the difficulties of fetishization of the plus-size community as well as the fatphobia faced when looking for a romantic relationship. Frustrations of friends call themselves fat in front of them, to which Collins said, “I don’t know what to tell you,” and Abraham said, “Keep your comments to yourself. Thank you.”

Fulton expressed irritation over the controversy surrounding a Nike advertisement that featured a plus-sized woman that received backlash for “normalizing and promoting obesity.” To this, Fulton asked, “What’s the goal? Do you want us to lose weight or not?”

When asked about the most frustrating misconceptions of their body types, Abraham spoke about the assumption that people with larger body types are unhealthy and the subsequent shaming of that belief. In response to an audience question on the same subject, Fulton said, “The overall thought process is ‘If we keep making people feel bad, something’s gonna change.’ You’re not changing anything.”

In a final statement to the audience, Fulton closed off with, “I think we need positive representation for not just body sizes, not just sexualities, we need it for everything. Anything that’s a little bit different from the societal norm we need more positive representation of that… Your body is there for the sole purpose of propelling you where you want to go and you’re not doing anything for your body. Your body is there to serve you… Your body is going to be there for you regardless of how you look, how you feel about yourself, and it’s ultimately up to you what you want to do. It’s not going to stop whether you look a little different from what society thinks is beautiful.”